HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Oahu Island Burial Council gathered across Iolani Palace on Thursday, claiming that its longtime leader is being retaliated against by Gov. David Ige.
The group claimed Ige did not grant Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu another term because she spoke out publicly in January about alleged mismanagement at the State Historic Preservation Division.
The council said they believe Wong-Kalu’s advocacy about this issue resulted in her removal from the Oahu Island Burial Council chair position, which she served for three terms.
“I — as the mouthpiece for reform — spoke very strongly,” Wong-Kalu said. “I’d like to ask all that who see and hear this press conference to know that those strong sentiments were voiced in that manner because this has to do with our ancestors.”
The group said the Ige Administration made a false claim when it said Wong-Kalu was not interested in continuing with the burial council.
“Her commitment to the iwi kupuna is admirable, and she deserves to know why the governor has lost faith in her,” said Michelle Makalua-Yee, a member of Hui Ola Na Iwi.
In a statement, Ige thanked Wong-Kalu for her service.